Sunday, September 13, 2009

Page 7

Ah, seven. The most powerful magical number, according to Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. OK, geek moment over.

On this page Bella continues to internally bitch about the truck, and she nags her poor, nervous father for details about the vehicle. Indecently, I'm beginning to wonder if this blog should have been called Charlie was Weak, since we've already well established that he allows his daughter to intimidate him to an alarming level.

About half way down the page, Charlie tells Bella that he had already bought the truck for her, at which point her opinion of the yet unseen vehicle takes a hair pin turn. Suddenly she's pleased, enthusiastic even.

To Bella's credit, she seemed quite sincere when she thanked her father for the gift. Unfortunately, the moment was ruined by the last sentence of the page:

"No need to add that my being happy in Forks is an impossibility. He didn't need to suffer along with me. And I never looked a free truck in the mouth - or engine."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Page 6

This is the page where Charlie first mentions the truck that Billy Black had offered to sell him for Bella's use. Notice how worried he is that the conversation will take a wrong turn.

When Bella asks the year of the vehicle, the following is Charlie's response.

"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine - it's only a few years old, really."

He's very defensive of the truck, as if he expects Bella to disapprove.

When I was Bella's age my own father bought me an old car. It was a Dodge Aries, from the mid 80's. If I had asked as many questions about the vehicle as Bella did, in the way that she asked (as though reserving judgement until the details were disclosed - also known as looking a gift horse in the mouth), my father would have changed his mind about buying it for me, and probably would have never bought me another thing. And the lecture I would have been subjected to about being thankful for what I have...I don't even want to think about it.

Of course, on page six Bella does not yet know that Charlie has bought the vehicle for her, or even that he was considering buying it for her, but it's pretty clear that he is trying his best to help her. Bella's critical tone jumps off of the page.

I don't blame him for feeling awkward around Bella.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Page 5

At this point I'm beginning to wonder why Charlie would want Bella to live with him.

In regards to Charlie, Bella says: "I knew he was more than a little confused by my decision - like my mother before me, I hadn't made a secret of my distaste for Forks."

Seriously, Charlie is aware that Bella hates Forks, and when she's not complaining out loud, she's complaining in her head. Does she ever smile?

More importantly, I wonder if Bella is capable of forming thoughts and opinions separate from those of her mother. We've seen no evidence thus far.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Page 4

Page four sticks entirely to the subject discussed on page three, with one small difference. While our good friend Stephanie Meyer wrote adolescent angst on page three, on page four the emotion has escalated to sickening levels, to the point that a person reading this page alone might think that Bella was boarding a plane to Iraq.

With the use of dramatic words like "exile", "panic", and "sacrifice", the reader is given the impression that the execution of Bella's plan to live with her dad is easily the most excruciating thing that has ever attempted.

Of course it's not abnormal for young people to over dramatize things, but Bella takes it too far, so that it seems like sarcasm...without the humour.

"That was the year I put my foot down; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead."

Ignoring the incorrect comma usage in this quote, it bothers me that Bella had no problem "putting her foot down" with her father. Does anyone show Charlie respect? Any respect at all?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Page 3 - Chapter 1. First Sight

On page three, Bella begins to talk about her physical trip to Forks. Most of the text discusses the weather. Bella wore her favorite shirt as a "parting gesture", while bringing a parka on the plane as her carry-on item.

Bella describes Forks as an "inconsequential" town, but one particular line bothers me.

"It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that I had been compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen."

Wow, poor Bella had her arm twisted into a pretzel until she agreed to travel to a prison cell disguised as a town to spend some time with her father occasionally. Don't we feel sorry for her?

One could argue that this attitude could be attributed to adolescent angst, but I wonder how stung Bella's father would have been if he had known how she felt about the situation. The very wording implies that Bella agrees that her mother was absolutely right to "escape" from her life and while we don't know enough about the marriage of Bella's parents to form intelligent opinions, it's fairly clear that her father is not abusive, and therefor the use of the word "escape is disrespectful and unnecessary.

Bella's mother is later described as "erratic" and "harebrained", and the fact that she had been unable to remain in Forks and keep her family together supports her flighty personality. Bella's description of Forks on page three strongly implies that her feelings about the town and the situation are the same as her mother's. What does that say about Bella?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Page 1 - Preface

I have to admit, the preface is an annoying place to have to start this project. Not only is it half a page of text, but it's an excerpt from towards the end of the story, so it's impossible to discuss without referring to events I haven't yet reached. Therefore, I must assume that anyone who may read this blog in the future has read the novel from beginning to end.

On this page, Bella is anticipating her death, and she states that, even through the events of the novel until this point, she had never expected to die this way. I hate to point out the obvious, but hadn't she been associating with vampires for months? Hadn't she been hunted by the very vampire who now had her cornered? This is naivete.

Go ahead and put yourself in harms way, girls. Be reckless. Ignore the advice of your parents. Date controlling boys who break into your room at night to watch you sleep. It worked for Bella Swan.

I know I'm jumping too far ahead into the story, but that's the nature of the preface.

"When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end."

Is this true? I can't speak for everyone else, but when I was seventeen I had pretty high expectations for life. I had planned to be the biggest movie star to ever walk the earth, and I was going to wear the hottest red gown ever to the Oscars. What were Bella's expectations for life? Did a Edward Cullen really push the boundaries for her? Would she have been satisfied with a highschool dropout - a mortal - highschool dropout who worked at Burger King?

Is it unreasonable for girls to strive for more, or is the love of a boy enough alone?

Again, I can't speak for everyone else, but when I have an especially good pita with tzatziki I grieve when it's gone. Grieving is a natural part of life. Let's put it this way: Winning 40 million dollars in the lottery is beyond my personal expectations, but if I did win and then lost the ticket, I would grieve, of course. If this life with Edward was something Bella had become so attached to, why wouldn't she grieve for it if she thought it was ending? She seems to control her emotions so that she only allows those that centre around Edward.

Here she is, about to be devoured by a ruthless vampire, and Bella thinks that she would be selfish to allow herself to feel regret for the series of events that led her to this point. Is it so impossible for her to focus on herself for once?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bella was Weak - A Twilight Blog

What's my beef with Bella Swan? She sets women back a hundred years!

First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Cheryl, and I'm a 27 year old writer from Ontario, Canada. I am a wife, and mother of two children (a five year old son, and a six year old daughter).

I like to read. I'll read nearly anything. Fantasy books, horror novels, dramas, the completely obscure and the super popular. Lately I've been really enjoying the popular stuff.

I'm an insane Harry Potter fan - you know, one of those people who buy the merchandise and see each movie a dozen times in the theatres and WB even richer (as of last night I've seen HBP eight times in theatres).

Anyway, about a year ago, the hype for the first Twilight movie alerted me to the existence of this book series. Headlines like "Move Over Harry Potter", and "The Next J.K. Rowling" kept me on the edge of my seat as I read, waiting for the great finale that would blow me away.

Here's my honest opinion of the Twilight series. I have read the entire series through once, and I enjoyed it. I view the books as a series of light, fluffy, Sunday afternoon reads. Not particularly thought provoking, and certainly not something that should be mentioned in the same sentence as Harry Potter. I did enjoy the books. Honestly I do, though I strongly believe that they're drastically over rated.

But the hype for the series persists, and one element of the story stuck with me, and has festered like an infected wound. The element is this: While the majority of the preteen female population aspires to grow up to be swept off her feet by a glittering vampire, the main character, Bella Swan, is not a person I would want my daughter to view as a role model.

In this blog I intend to prove that on each and every page of the first Twilight novel Bella sets a pathetic example for our young girls by acting the part of the 1950's housewife, willing to sacrifice everything for her man.

I will read one page of the first Twilight novel each day and discuss Bella's actions or thoughts, or the actions of her role models. Some pages, of course, will be more difficult than others. Some will probably be a stretch. It will take well over a year to complete this task, but I'm up for the challenge.

Tomorrow is the first day back at school for my children. I will post my analysis for the first page then, and again each following day.

One last thing. The purpose of this blog is to analyze Bella's character, and not to compare Twilight to Harry Potter. I will do my best to limit such comparisons, but make no promises. I have to admit that all of the "Next J.K. Rowling" crap is starting to irk the hell out of me.